Leo Radom

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After my time at North Sydney Boys' High School, I went to Sydney University, completing a PhD degree in chemistry in 1969. I got married just before finishing my studies and in early 1969 my wife (Faye) and I travelled by boat to America where I had secured a postdoctoral appointment. We couldn't afford to fly and in those days (unlike now) boat travel was less expensive. In the event, the boat trip was terrific, just what was needed after the many years of study. We spent somewhat over three years in Pittsburgh where I was based at Carnegie-Mellon University. Pittsburgh was already well on the way to ridding itself of its steel-city image by the time we got there. Its climate is awful, however, with a hot and humid summer, a cold winter, and not much in between. We thoroughly enjoyed American life, but were not tempted to stay there permanently, despite the possibility of exciting job opportunities.

In the 1960s, the Australian university system expanded rapidly but by the early 1970s the job opportunities for chemists at Australian universities had all but dried up. After a couple of years in Pittsburgh, we started wondering whether we would ever be able to return home. Fortunately, I was able to obtain a Queen Elizabeth II Fellowship, which I took up at the Research School of Chemistry of the Australian National University. I am still there, having subsequently secured a permanent faculty position and am currently a professor of chemistry.

My wife Faye is originally from Perth. We met during a summer vacation and corresponded for two years while she completed a BA at UWA. Faye came to Sydney in 1968 to do a Dip Ed, we became engaged in the middle of her Dip Ed year and were married at the end of it. We have two daughters, Jackie and Naomi. Faye was never very keen on Canberra and found the cold winters particularly hard to take. She moved to Sydney when both our girls were studying there. She is currently the School Psychologist at Moriah College. I lead a commuting existence, spending part of the week at the ANU and extended weekends in Sydney. The traffic police in Goulburn were getting to know me well but then I switched to a car with cruise control and, coupled with an increasing frequency of flying, this has meant that I haven't had any encounters with them since! My university position has enabled me to travel quite extensively. Often the trips are very brief and I go on my own but I have spent sabbatical periods with the family in Irvine (USA), Berkeley (USA), Beer Sheva (Israel) and Okazaki (Japan).

I enjoy playing bridge and dabbling on the stock market, and have a strong interest in current affairs. I am a keen follower of cricket and rugby league.